Loyola Marymount University has received a $5 million gift from space travel pioneer Tom Mueller, which will further extend the university’s ability to educate future leaders in the growing field of aerospace.
The gift from Mueller, who earned his master’s at LMU in 1992 in mechanical engineering, will establish an aerospace propulsion lab in the Seaver College of Science and Engineering, where students will engage in the latest aerospace research and development.
Mueller—the founder of in-space transportation firm Impulse Space, and previously a founding executive at SpaceX— is making a contribution at a time when demand for engineers with aerospace training and background is growing at a rapid pace. Private space exploration and renewed investment in space travel by governmental agencies means LMU graduates with these degrees will be highly sought after as the field progresses.
“Tom is a visionary leader who was ahead of the curve on space as an industry and on the development of new propulsion technology,” said Tina Choe, dean of the LMU Seaver College of Science and Engineering. “For him to make this level of investment in our science and engineering programs shows that he is betting on LMU students to lead the way in this field.”
“I’m thrilled to be able to help LMU prepare the next generation of engineers, whose work to further advance the aerospace industry will begin in this facility,” Mueller said. “Loyola Marymount University has a long history of leadership in engineering and science. What we’re starting today will continue that tradition and push our society toward greater advancements in space.”
The aerospace propulsion lab will be part of the planned Engineering Innovation Complex at LMU, which, combined with the newly opened Featherston Life Sciences Building, represents an investment of more than $300 million by the university in its science and engineering facilities, ensuring that every LMU student is able to engage with the latest technology and breakthroughs in science education.
The LMU Seaver College of Science and Engineering is ranked in the top 25 undergraduate engineering programs by U.S. News and World Report, and the Princeton Review ranks LMU in the top 10 for “Best Science Lab Facilities.”